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Header: Jess Anderson in Madison Wisconsin
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1996 Ends
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961231 (Tuesday)

The last day of 1996, and I'm not at all sorry to see that year pass into history. At the same time, I don't wish to dwell on the part of the history that was my own.

It has ended up very differently from what I expected. Indeed it started in an unusual way as well. The interim was, shall we say, dynamic. Arising from or at least coincidental with the more harrowing parts there was a tremendous amount of self-discovery and surveying new terrains, both things having the quality of rediscovery or reacquaintance, since they were reopenings of reservoirs long reserved for a suitable time. In many ways, the time seems to have come.

So the coming year promises marvels, without any doubt. That's good, because the long hiatus, though necessary, was not very comfortable, quite a lot of the time. The period 1993-96 was a diversion, in some ways, taking me far afield from the quiet, nearly monastic ways of the decade preceding. I have missed that while journeying in new domains. I found things of interest and great value there, certainly, so I leave that time without regrets of any kind.

From a letter to a friend:

I was just writing a kind of year-end summary, a couple paragraphs about how I feel about the year ending and the year coming. 1993 was a turning-point year for me, I think, ushering in a period of intense introspection, striking out in a few new directions (working out being one of them) over the course of the ensuing three years. For most of this past year I've tried to reconnect myself to what at this stage of life seems to have been the best parts from the whole past. What has been a work rather in progress is now transforming itself into the life, as I experience it (if that makes any sense), a level of self-manifestation increasingly beyond ego. It's a breakthrough of some kind, but from what or into what is not yet clear enough for me to articulate.

It rather surprises me that apparently one can string a wire from one peak to the next, even retrospectively, and link together a substantial fabric of interests, accomplishments, experiences, threaded with more than one heartbreak or sadness perhaps, but enriched by that too, until the miracle that one is even alive is itself breathtaking.

So it seems to me now that the essence, for me, has all along been the development not of a personal philosophy or ethic or psychological en soi, but rather an aesthetic of being what one does and doing what one is, a seamless but nonetheless Janus-like duality of modes within the one spirit.

Perhaps this is too intimate to be communicated easily. The key word for me seems to be resonance. So I spend no little effort sounding, in the several senses of that word.

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